Chapter 6. Connecting to a Database

Using data files will be a significant part of most users’ data preparation, but connecting to databases is another option. Most organizations have built up significant data assets, the majority of which are held within databases. In this chapter we will look at what a database is, how to securely connect Prep Builder to one, and when to avoid connecting to a database.

What Is a Database?

Databases, data warehouses, and data lakes are terms that will be familiar to most people using data in their jobs every day, but it’s important to distinguish between them for everyone else:

Database
A piece of software that resides on a computer (often a server) that specializes in ingesting, storing, and providing data to other tools. The database is likely to be split up into different objects, namely tables and views; therefore, the data needs to be well structured.
Data warehouse
A collection of databases or a particularly large database. Because it stores multiple servers together, a data warehouse allows for sharing resources like memory between them.
Data lake
A newer concept that is becoming more common and allows for more flexible storage of all data types and files. Data is often held in data lakes while awaiting processing and restructuring for storage in a database.

I will use database as a catch-all term for all three storage forms unless otherwise specified.

Databases hold the majority of the data in tables. The main type of storage, a relational ...

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